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How Do I Choose the Best Colors of Lipstick for Redheads?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 21, 2024
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The best lipstick for redheads is usually muted rather than bright in color. Rather than clear, blue-based colors, redheads should pick more blended colors with an orange, brown or golden undertone. Lighter shades are often the best choices for daytime, while most redheads can wear at least slightly darker tones in the evening. Nude and glossy neutrals are other great lipstick choices for redheads.

Glossy light-colored lipstick can help thin lips look larger, while using a deeper shade with a slightly darker lip liner can help minimize a fuller mouth. Sheer or nude shades can be ideal daytime or weekend options when a sporty or natural look is wanted. While neutral varieties can often be worn by people of all skin and hair colors, this type of lipstick for redheads tends to be especially flattering.

Redheads with very pale skin may not be able to look their best in extremely dark lipstick shades such as chocolate or raisin. Going a few shades lighter such as by picking a cinnamon brown or burnished plum can be a good option for lipstick for redheads who want something darker for evening looks. For daytime lipsticks, peachy-pink, corals and melons can all work well. Descriptions such as "tawny," "henna," "golden" and "bronzed" in the names of these types of lipstick colors usually signal that the product has the desired warm, rather than cool, base.

Contrary to what many people think, most redheads can usually look great in red lipstick. The important things to keep in mind when choosing red lipstick for redheads is to look for muted orange undertones rather than try to match the hair color. Especially in the case of vivid red hair colors, trying to match the lipstick to it is likely to create a clownish look rather than a tasteful, flattering appearance. Brick red is usually a flattering choice for most redheads.

Melons and rusts as well as lighter golden apricots can all be very flattering on redheads. Pink lipstick for redheads should always have an orange base rather than a blue undertone. Comparing the different lipstick colors on display in department store cosmetic sections is often a great way for redheads to realize the difference between blue and orange base tones. Even adding a streak of two different lipstick sample testers on the back of each hand and holding the hands up to the face can help in finding the best color.

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Discussion Comments
By amypollick — On Nov 04, 2013

@anon353983: I'm a fair-skinned, brown-eyed brunette, so I've run into some of the same issues, since I definitely have a cooler skin tone.

A good nude for me is one with a lot of pink in it. Ulta has one called "pink chocolate" in their house brand that is a great nude lipstick.

I'd recommend hitting Ulta if there's a store in your area, anyway. You get a lot of the "premium" labels as well as the major drugstore labels all under one roof. Plenty of choices that way.

I'm a total lipstick fiend, so I'm always on the lookout for a new shade.

By anon353983 — On Nov 04, 2013

This article certainly does not apply to all redheads. I spent my teenage years and 20s wearing all the brown-toned peaches and warm undertoned colors of lipstick, blush, and makeup and couldn't figure out why I always looked sick. Then I found out that my skin has a cool undertone (blue veins, not green) and that I should be wearing the pinks and cool color. My complexion came alive once I discovered this. I have worn pretty bright berry and fuschia colors on my lips. Anything brown or orange looking is wrong for my skin tone. Now I am trying to find a good nude color that will not make me look like a corpse. My lips have an almost lavender undertone to them.

So don't use this an article as a guideline just because you have red hair. There are different tones of red hair just like any other color and you must know what your skintone is - cool, warm, or neutral. The L'Oreal website has a quiz to help.

By orangey03 — On Jan 08, 2012

@OeKc05 – I think that you should give her something really eye-catching. After all, you want her to be excited about using it, right? If you get her a melon or a coral, she might just toss it aside and forget about it.

If you get her something safe, she will be too tempted to go back to her old, boring, clashing color. You need to wow her with something outstanding.

I would suggest a brick-like shade of red, but with a gold shimmer. This will bring out the natural shiny orange in her own hair, but in a modest way. Also, it will make her lips very attractive.

By OeKc05 — On Jan 07, 2012

@kylee07drg – I want to get my sister a new shade of lipstick for her birthday, and her hair is borderline orange. She has been stuck on this one nude shade that has blue undertones for years, and I am desperate to break her of that habit.

Should I start subtly with a light coral color, or should I get her something more interesting, like a shimmery or saturated shade? I don't want to scare her away, but I think that if I get her something too boring, she won't try that, either.

I need advice, because this is my one chance to help her change without her knowing what I'm doing. I want to subtly introduce her to the world of complementary color.

By kylee07drg — On Jan 07, 2012

Being a redhead definitely presents challenges. We have to avoid certain colors of clothing, and our makeup choices are very limited.

I was very sad as a young girl when I discovered that I couldn't wear all the pretty pink and dark lipsticks that my friends were sporting. I envied women in magazine ads for lipstick who could look awesome in any shade from light pink to deepest brown.

Now that I am in my twenties, I have come to accept my situation. I actually have ten shades of lipstick in my collection that work for my complexion, and many of them are mentioned in this article. I'm not missing out on anything, really, because my lipstick collection is larger than many of those of my brunette and blond friends.

By lighth0se33 — On Jan 06, 2012

My best friend is a redhead, and she has had her fair share of struggles when it comes to choosing flattering shades of makeup. I was there with her during those awkward teenage years, as she experimented with all the wrong colors before finally finding what worked best for her skin tone and hair color.

She used to wear bright pink lipstick to school, but she stopped after a mean girl told her she looked like a clown. Then, she switched to dark brown, but she got several weird looks from her classmates, so she just went natural for awhile.

She currently wears a shade that reminds me of pepperoni. I even held up a piece off of our pizza next to her lips, and it matched perfectly. It goes great with her shade of red hair, though.

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